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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Slow Food, Good Food

Last night a friend and I attended a free public lecture presented by Carlo Petrini, founder and international president of Slow Food. If you are not aware, Slow Food is "a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world" (taken from their website).

Many more people attended than they were obviously expecting, so extra chairs were brought into the back of the lecture theatre, but then the organisers eventually decided to move to a larger venue, and then spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out the audiovisual system before being able to finally get started. Carlo Petrini is Italian, and my friend and I couldn't help but joke that with this level of organisation he must have felt right at home ;)

In many respects Carlo was preaching to the converted, and much of what he had to say may would be of no surprise to anyone with a healthy interest in food and gastronomy, but quite a few things caught my attention:

  • More than half the food produced globally is wasted, with over 22000 tonnes wasted each day in the US alone.
  • "We can't eat computers; we can't eat communication; we have to eat tomatoes, potatoes and spinach."
  • "To eat is the first agricultural act. When I eat, I decide which agriculture I will support."
  • We need to become fighters! One specific fight which he recommended getting involved in is doing away with the ban on producing cheese with raw milk in Australia.
  • The Obamas have started a vegie garden in the White House (Also, I just discovered you can download a plan of their garden design, if you were so inclined...seems like they're big fans of lettuce, apparently)
Carlo also showed a video about Terra Madre, which essentially is a biennial gathering to bring together food communities from across the globe. I wonder if I can somehow convince UWA to sponsor me to attend the next one. Plankton is important to fish stocks, and fish is an important food, right?

(For those in Sydney, Carlo will be heading over to speak at the Sydney International Food Festival.)

After listening to so much Italian, we could not help but go out for some Italian for dinner after the presentation, so we headed into Subiaco to ecco! Pizza. This place has some of the best pizza in town - nice thin, tasty bases, fresh toppings and good sauces. Last night however, we decided to forgo the pizza option and instead tried all of the specials! Most of these "specials" are always on offer, but we were excited to see Fremantle Sardines written up there too this time (actually, it said "FREMANTLE SADINES").

So, to start with we ordered the Fremantle Sardines and the ricotta mushrooms, which I just can't resist ordering when I go here. My friend ordered the capretto with asparagus, whilst I ordered the chicken diavolo with rosemary potatoes and asparagus.

Fremantle sardines

The sardines were oily and tender, going beautifully with the slightly crunchy garlic toast they were sitting on. Our only complaint was that we would have preferred them to be saltier.

Herbed ricotta mushrooms

These are so tasty I can't help but order them every time. Last night the mushrooms were a little smaller than usual, but the flavour was certainly still there. Meaty, juicy mushrooms covered in creamy herbed ricotta. Delicious!

Capretto with asparagus

This is a favourite dish for my friend. Like with the chicken, the capretto is roasted using the pizza oven until it is fall-off-the-bone tender. I've had it before and would certainly have it again, but I thought this time I'd try the chicken instead....

Chicken diavolo with rosemary potatoes and asparagus

The chicken did not disappoint. Beautifully tender, juicy and succulent, and a really generous amount too! The potatoes and asparagus were also cooked well. Although the sauce was tasty, it was also incredibly oily, and I would have preferred much less of it on the plate. I did however have to stop myself from picking up the carcass to make sure I'd got every last skerrick of meat off it.

Overall, another delicious meal at Ecco. I've been here many times, and think I have tried all of the starter dishes by now and they're all really good. It's a great place to go with a few people, so you can share a pile of different starters and then either share pizzas or go with your own main. The blue cheese and pear pizza is particularly good, but I can also recommend the asparagus, the brocolini and the carciofo ones. Well, they're all quite good really.

Alberto the owner is a real character too.

23 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Phone: 9388 6710
Email: subi@eccopizza.com.au

There's also another ecco! in Fremantle, but I've not been there myself.

Ecco on Urbanspoon


Panamahat October 15, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

Oh Baby Goat, I Love You! I am shortly going to order half a baby goat for my freezer. Well, temporarily for my freezer, but in the longer term, for my belly. I LOVE SPRING!!

Iron Chef Shellie October 16, 2009 at 4:13 AM  

So the Obamas love their lettuce ey :P Who woulda thought.
I can't believe how much food is wasted every year. And at the risk of sounding like Bono; what about the starving people in 3rd world countries?

... however your dinner looked yummy! Although it looked like there was quite a bit of parsley dandruff happening :P

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 16, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

What an interesting lecture - wish I could have attended... One dream of mine is to start a veggie patch in the school where I work - we are in downtown Toronto and don't have much green space in our school. One day, one day...

Your meal looks sublime - and your pictures are beautiful!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz October 16, 2009 at 10:12 PM  

Great lecture to attend, wish I could have been there. Ricotta Mushrooms...hummmm

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 17, 2009 at 4:58 AM  

Thankyou so much for the post! I had to miss out on seeing his talk tomorrow so this is a great way to cacth up on it :) I had no idea that the Obamas had a vegetabkle garden (lettuce freak here too!)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 17, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

Panamahat - So am I! I've sussed it out with my butcher of choice, and shall be goating it up next week some time. Watch this space.

Iron Chef Shellie - I know, isn't it disgusting! So so much waste in many areas, and people starving to death in others. Yeah the parsley dandruff was a little over the top, but I guess it tied all the dishes together ;)

Mardi - sounds like a fine dream.. and I'm sure you could rope in some local businesses to sponsor your efforts. In your free time ;) And thanks very much!!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz - Oh yeah baby, those mushrooms were rocking.

Lorraine - You're very welcome! Yeah I loves me some lettuce too, but surely it would be wise to grow some other stuff to go with it ;)

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